Before tweeting, connecting and friending, answer me this: where are your customers?

September 12, 2009

Sometimes this is the request from a business owner: Could you show me how to use Twitter?

1102203_23617898Other times, this is the question: Should I use Facebook?

Or this: I’m thinking of using Linkedin. Will it help my business?

My answers: Yes. Yes. Yes.

And: No.

I work like crazy to avoid saying no to a customer but no is the quickest and best answer for businesses considering whether they should use social media to connect with customers. Why? There are other questions and information about your business and your customers to consider first to help you decide whether to spend time on social media and then which tools to use and how to use them.

Here are questions I ask my customers before we ever get close to answering those first questions they ask. I share them to help prompt discussion about what you want to accomplish at your business, too: Read the rest of this entry »

Shiny new thing or old-fashioned networking?

May 9, 2009

1009935_25003389You’re thinking that turning to the latest and hotest social media and online communications tools will increase sales and get your business moving again. Nothing wrong with that idea and lots of people will tell you that’s just the thing to do.

Heck, I’m one of those people. But simply setting up on Facebook or Linkedin or Twitter without a clear purpose in mind and a commitment of your valuable business time to follow through is not going to increase anything — except for your frustration with the folks who sold you on the whole social media idea in the first place.

The purpose and how much of a commitment, of course, are up to you. You know what you want to accomplish for your business or community group. But your purpose for using social media also has to include meeting people, getting to know them and building and keeping relationships with them. It’s business development and no different from attending a chamber of commerce event, or lunching with a customer, or any of the other ways you use to say hello and stay in touch. Read the rest of this entry »

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